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tv   FOX News Sunday With Chris Wallace  FOX News  January 12, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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little show-off courtsy of the san diego zoo. brother and sister lion cubs ignored by their mother had to be cared for by animal care workers at the zoo and they're doing just fine. i'm john roberts in for chris wallace. congress returns to work amid continued gridlock on capitol hill. while outside the beltway, scandal threatens a potential gop front-runner. >> i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. >> we'll look into the fallout over the traffic jam for political payback fiasco in new jersey. plus, take a deeper look inside the tell-all book by former defense secretary robert gates that's putting the obama administration on defense. >> i can just tell you what the facts are. you can decide for yourself what you want to believe. >> our sunday panel tackles all
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that, plus their thoughts on the legacy of former israeli prime minister ariel sharon. we'll have a live report from jerusalem. then, 50 years after president lyndon johnson declared a war on poverty, both parties are refocusing their sights on inequality. >> we've got to make sure this recovery, which is real, leaves nobody behind. >> the current government programs that are designed to address poverty, they do not help people emerge from it. they do not help people rise above it. >> we'll examine competing visions with republican congressman steve southerland of florida and chris van holland of maryland. al qaeda's reemergence in the middle east leads to criticism of president obama's handling of the war in iraq. we'll discuss the state of the region with senators state inhoff and ben cardin. all right now on "fox news sunday." >> hello again from fox news in
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washington. it has been a wild week in politics. lawmakers back on capitol hill and back to old habits. squabbling now over extending unemployment benefits. the white house caught in a firestorm over excerpts from former defense secretary robert gates's new memoir that casts key members of the administration in a rather unflattering light. and in new jersey, chris christie, known for his comb combative governing strategy. his office tied to a nightmarish closing of access to the george washington bridge. >> i am responsible for what happens. i am sad to report to the people of new jersey that we fell short. >> to discuss all of this week's political headlines, we begin with our sunday group. syndicated columnist george will. bob woodward of the "washington post." gop master mind karl rove. fox news political analyst juan williams. let's start off with chris christie. because this is a huge political story. a lot of people say, george,
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that he did himself a good service on thursday when he came out and forthrightly addressed this. let's start by chris christie denying any connection to what happened with the george washington bridge. >> i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue. in its planning or its execution. and i am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. >> chris christie, of course, the republican front-runner at this point for 2016. has this damaged his chances? >> i don't think so. assuming what he just said is true, and i'm prepared to assume that, it's still too soon to say. the american people are convinced not without reason that the political class is largely composed of synthetic figures cobbled together from focus groups and polling and all the rest. so what they're looking for first is authenticity. but then they have to decide that they like what you authentically are. he has established his
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authenticity. question is, is this the kind of president people want? it's one thing at the governor's level. something happens with the presidency. because of the media's obsession with the presidency and because of television, we live in such intimate relationships with our presidents who are in our living rooms every day at dinner time, usually, on the news hour. for this reason they have to decide if that's a persona that translates to the presidential level of politics. and the jury is still out on that. >> he did get high marks mostly from republicans for addressing this forthrightly and showing leadership, taking command. let's listen to what chris christie said on thursday about what he did in the wake of the smoking gun e-mail becoming public. >> i found this out at 8:50 yesterday morning. by 9:00 this morning, bridget kelly was fired. by 7:00 yesterday evening, bill stepien was asked to leave my
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organization. that's pretty swift action. for a day's work. >> many people making the point that if you contrast that with president obama, the only victim, the only person who's been fired is actually an organization, cgi which created the obamacare website. everybody else still in place. >> look, i think he did himself a lot of good by stepping forward and being very straightforward and very candid and very blunt in taking immediate action. i do agree with george that the jury is still out as to whether or not this sort of brash style in new jersey is transferable anywhere else in the country. that was going to be the big question anyway. i think he did himself some good by contrasting with the normal, routine way of handling these things which is to be evasive, sort of trim on the edges. you'll notice we haven't been hearing a lot from the clinton camp about this. in contrast with president bill clinton and with secretary clinton's handling of benghazi. i think it's going to be hard for democrats to turn this into an issue. the question is whether the
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facts are going to turn this into an issue. >> juan? >> e don't think it's the democrats who have the ultimate say here. i think it's republicans. i think it's the republican primaries that are going to come up and in those republican primaries you're going to see a lot of tea party kind of grass roots people who don't like chris christie, don't like the fact that he expanded medicaid in new jersey, don't like his attitude in welcoming immigrants and in state tuition, and really don't like the fact he embraced president obama for the help the president gave after hurricane sandy. that element of the party doubts chris christie's conservative credentials. i think in the battle between establishment republicans and grass roots republicans, you have a major fight. and chris christie has opened the door to his conservative critics. you said he's the leading republican right now in the polls for 2016. well, he's got to get through those republican primaries, john. right now it looks like there's a blockage on the long bridge to 2016 for chris christie. >> bob, i know you'd be champing
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at the bit to write a book about a chris christie administration because of how much fun it would be to write that book. >> right. >> what are you thoughts? >> on trafficgate or whatever it is, i mean, what's this about? that's what's so shocking. if you think there are 200 million americans with driver's licenses. you get caught in a traffic jam and you go in and you say, oh, there aren't enough roads. or there's too much construction. or they don't time the lights right. unthinkable, at least to me, that some politician or some political group is engineering this for political purposes. and george will always makes the point, which is right here, there's too much governing. there are people in that office sitting around, saying, -- i jut don't get the idea that anyone could say, let's engineer a traffic jam. ft. lee, new jersey, is in new jersey. and this is the governor's
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office somehow saying let's penalize these people? it is a form -- >> so you don't buy the whole controversy? >> i buy it. i think it's -- it's lodged in people's minds because they're saying, this is a dirty trick, off the charts. we've never seen one like that. and i think the reporting is going to get to the issue of what did christie know and not know. but it's also going to deal with who -- where was the meeting, the discussion saying, let's do this. let's engineer a traffic jam. was there anyone in that office who said, i vote no? >> george, i know you want to jump in here. we need to get a twitter question in. every week we ask our audience to submit a question via twitter or facebook. rod nelson writes, where was this media coverage on benghazi, the nsa and irs? why is this not a, quote, phony scandal. >> this is not a phony scandal
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because as the principal watergate scholar nose, john dean sent a memo to mr. higby, the assistant to the chief of staff alderman saying we should use the machinery, federal machinery of government to screw our enemies. that's what this is about up there. i'll say one thing that we've identified him as the front-runner, christie. nothing matters at this point. at this point in the 1972 cycle, the front-runner was edmond musky. in 1980 people said watch out for john connolly. he's a coming star. 1984, john glen, the movie, the right stuff is coming out. watch out for john glen. in 2008 to come to modern history, at this point the far away leader was rudy giuliani. >> on the democratic side in 2005 at this point, barack obama wasn't even in the polls. he was zero. so i think you're absolutely right. one note of disagreement with my friend, juan. there will be reasons why
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conserve tiatives have disagrees with chris christie. i don't think the tea party is going to seize upon ft. lee and the george washington bridge as their defining difference with christie. in fact, i think his handling of this, being straightforward, taking action, saying i'm responsible, firing the people, probably gives him some street kred with tea party republicans who say that's what we want in a leader. somebody who steps up and takes responsibility. >> when glenn beck says conservatives should run away from chris christie, when rush limbaugh says this is payback -- >> there's a difference between saying it's payback on the part of the media. it's not thing to say it's going to have a huge impact on 2016. >> what's the mindset here? out of that office? it came out of that office. >> so did benghazi. so did irs come out of the appointees of president obama. >> exactly. >> secretary of state hillary clinton. >> we need all -- we need more reporting on all of these things. but i want to hear -- i want to read the tic tok of who came up
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with the idea. >> the amount of attention paid this week to chris christie makes the coverage of benghazi at the same time and the coverage of the irs pale in significance. >> we have to leave it there. we should add this note, though, according to the bergen record, which has been at the lead of breaking this, assemblyman wesneski in charge of the investigation, is likely going to subpoena bridget kelly. and governor christie's media spokesperson for their e-mails and other communications. bob, we may go further down the road to finding out exactly what the genesis of all of this was. we got to take a break here. when we come back, politics sure can make for some strange bedfello bedfellows. senator rand paul among a group of bipartisan senators a t the white house this week to talk about the economy. we'll discuss the new focus of poverty and income inequality with two key members of congress coming up next. be sure to tell us what you think on facebook and share your favorite moments of today's show with others. there's nothing like being your own boss!
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each of these communities is designing from the bottom up, not the top down. what do they think they need and we're helping to make that happen. and they're doing what it takes to change the odds for their kids. we will help them succeed. not with a handout but as partners. >> president obama on thursday rolling out his promise zone initiative to encourage economic develop in high poverty areas throughout the country. with us now to discuss the efforts, congressman steve southerland of florida. chris van holland of maryland, ranking member of the house budget committee. congressmen, welcome to "fox news sunday." good to have you back. let's start with you,
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congressman southerland. this was all done on the anniversary of lyndon johnson's declaration for war on poverty. what do you think of this idea of the promise zones across the country, the first five of which were unveiled on thursday? >> the president, i believe this is the program he made reference to in his state of the union a year ago. so there doesn't seem to be much of an urgency here since it's 13 months after he first mention e it. the devil is in the details. there wasn't a lot of details that came out. as you know, president reagan had the enterprise zones. if it's patterned after that, that encouraged school choice. i do believe tax incentives to move the economy forward. and so we're going to be patient. we're going to look at what the president is offering and but again, the devil is in the details. >> congressman van holland, i think many people were appreciative of the idea of the promise zones. ted cruz came out and said all of america needs to be a promise zone with reduced barriers to small businesses creating private sector jobs. do you agree or disagree with the premise that the best way out of poverty is to have a job
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and the best way to create jobs is to create a playing field in which small businesses can flourish? >> john, there's no doubt about it. the best way to pull people out of poverty is to get the economy kicked into full gear and all the efforts that go into that. for example, i believe we've got to reinvest in our infrastructure. you've got huge needs in term of rebuilding our infrastructure, modernizing for the 21st century. and you've got a lot of people unemployed in the construction area. that's a win/win. we'd like to work with our colleagues to do it. there's also a very important role to play in trying to harness resources to focus on places in greatest need. we also need to make sure more people can share in prosperity. that's why we should increase the minimum wage which hasn't been raised for a long time. so the president's promise zones are a part of an overall tragedy
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strategy of trying to get the economy going and have more broadly shared prosperity. >> there is a fundamental difference in ideology though of how to do this, congressman southerland. you said looking back on lyndon johnson's war in poverty if, it had failed, do you keep putting more money into existing programs or do you as senator marco rubio suggested earlier this week, fundamentally reform everything? take a big pot of money that federal government has and give that to the states to administer in innovative ways? they're the ones on the ground who know what needs to be done. >> i don't know, i think you have to look at the -- the indicators, the fundamentals of these programs. look what causes poverty. we know, okay, that two parent families is a child's greatest opportunity to avoid poverty. we know that a good quality education with daily parent involvement, great choice reduces poverty. we know that a good job, you know, 90 -- of the people that have a job, okay, only 3% are in poverty. so if you have a job in this country, 97% chance that you're not going to be in poverty. and so, therefore, i think there's a better way. okay? if you look at the last 50
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years, if you look at those fundamentals, i think it's long past time to change direction. >> let me just say, i mean there's this narrative out there that the war on poverty has failed. the reality is we still have many too many americans in poverty. >> it's about the same number. >> but the reality is people are using a lot of misleading figures in this effort. the council of economic advisors just released a report showing that we have cut poverty by one-third since 1967. that's the number of people as a percentage of the population of poverty. after all, our country has grown by 125 million people. the point they've been making is that it's not succeeded because they ignore the benefits of some of the programs we've had. the earned income tax credit. i hope nobody would deny that that has helped people get out of poverty. the food stamp program which steve and his colleagues are trying to cut. they want to cut 4 million
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people off of food stamps even though we just had a cut in november. so it's hard to listen to our colleagues on one hand saying they want to fight the war on poverty when they're taking all these initiatives to throw more people into poverty. >> what do you think of senator rubio's proposal to do away with the earned income tax credit that lump sum payment that people get at the end of the year and replace it with federal wage? >> i think the earned income tax credit has helped. i think it's a fact, it helped lift people out of poverty. i'd be opposed to that. that has been a bipartisan idea. republicans and democrats joined together to pass the earned income tax credit to reward work. to say to people, if you work hard, you're at least going to earn an income that is above the poverty level. so that's a very important effort as are these others. so we should not use numbers to say we're not winning the war on poverty because we don't count these programs. we're not winning because we still have 47 million americans in poverty. but let's not ignore the progress that has been made. >> congressman southerland,
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you're getting the stuffing beat out of you in florida in the second congressional district for your proposal to require work for people to have food stamps. the bigger part of that is the temporary assistance for needy family programs is probably one of the most successful programs in the country congress has ever come out with. and it causes republicans to apply that more broadly across the board. do you agree? >> look, we literally patterned, it's ironic that we patterned our bill as it applies to able-bodied individuals that are of working edge, mentally, physically, psychologically able to work. >> like the famous surfer we highlighted? >> absolutely. excluded children. excluded the disabled. excluding seniors. that they work, train for work, look for work or volunteer. and i think that they'd be productive. i think that over 80% of america agrees with that premise. so i think it makes sense. but it only applies, again, to the able-bodied individuals without dependents. >> is that such a horrible idea?
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>> first of all, steve is ignoring the other part of the proposal. their proposal cuts $40 billion out of food and nutrition programs on top of the cuts in november. more than half the households there are working households with kids or households with seniors who are not expected to work. and so you're actually sending a very bad message about work when you're actually cutting food support for families that are working. which goes to the category -- >> the proposal is getting beaten rather severely. he's saying able-bodied people. >> there's one that says you have to have training programs. which is fine except for the proposal also cuts resources for training programs in the states. at the same time, you have three people, three people looking for every one job in this country. >> quick response? >> first of all, chris is pretty good with numbers. okay? as a numbers guy. there are a couple numbers that i think are glaring. since this president took office, 6.7 million americans
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have entered into poverty. we know that 45% of single mothers live in poverty. and so, therefore, why we are trying to push more policies that are just going to add to those numbers, if you look at the facts, this administration, we can do better. we must do better. >> let me move on. >> we can always do better but it is also a fact that more than 8 million jobs have been created over the last 46 months. is it enough? no. you still have three people, as i said, looking for every job. so we should not be cutting off extended unemployment benefits. >> on that point let's listen to what senator harry reid said about the republican position on unemployment insurance extension on thursday. >> you have to give them credit. they're doing their best to divert attention away from this issue. this is opposition and it's cold hearted to extend unemployment benefits. it's a very tough position to defend. >> that was wednesday.
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congressman van holland, are republicans coldhearted? all they want to do is they want to pay for this unemployment insurance, et cetera. >> no, that's not the case. a lot of people are still opposed it to. we put forward a proposal in the house before we took the winter break to pay for it by cutting excessive ag subsidies. we were denied an opportunity to even vote on that measure. the reality is you listen to people like rand paul. they take the insulting position that these people are just sitting back taking the compensation check when they're required to look for work. >> if it pays for it and there are offering to extent it and par for it in 2024, is that a real offer? >> look, i think you have to look at what's going on in states like north carolina. obviously last july north from the brand doctors recommend most.
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we go overseas to israel where news came yesterday that former prime minister ariel sharon has died at the age of 85. sharon was a larger than life figure in israel dubbed the bulldozer by the media there. for his ability to get things done and the contempt he held for his critics. our own connor powell is live in jerusalem for us this morning with the latest. hi, connor.
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>> reporter: good morning, john. we've seen a steady stream of israelis coming here to pay final respects to ariel sharon. his casket will sit in state line for six hours today. tomorrow it will be moved to his family farm in southern israel. there will be a service tomorrow. vice president joe biden will lead the u.s. delegation. former british prime minister tony blair will also be there. sharon lives a mixed legacy. both right and left can find something hailed as a great defender of israel, a military genius. but he resigned in shame after hundreds of palestinians were killed by israel's christian allies following the 1982 war. despite being an early supporter of the movement to build israeli settlements in the palestinian
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t territories, he later did an about-face. it was a controversial decision and remains a controversial decision now. one thing we're hearing or talking to israelis is that they praise him for leadership and that's one thing that is lacking across the entire political spectrum here in israel right now. he was a man, they say, willing to make tough decisions. and, john, israelis really miss that characteristic. they want more leadership. they want more politicians willing to make really tough decisions. john? >> certainly no question that sharon was famous for making those tough decisions. connor powell in jerusalem, thanks so much. for more on this and troubling new developments in the middle east with resurgence of al qaeda in iraq, we turn to two key senators. from oklahoma, james inhoff, ranking member from the foreign services committee. senator inhoff, why don't we start with you. as we start off this segment, why don't we start with you. your thoughts on the passing of aerial sharon? >> well, mine are quite different, john. we had an unusual relationship.
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in fact, it was even written up in the jerusalem times that he and i on two occasions actually sat down, spent an hour together and prayed together. now, that's an unusual relationship with someone. but it's one that was very ge genuine, very real. >> senator cardin? >> well, aerial sharon was really one of the great military leaders of israel since 1988. and i think more recently he was the one willing to take risk for peace in the middle east. his leadership was invaluable for israel's history and future. so i treasure the opportunities i had to meet with him when he was in israel when i -- when he was in the united states and i was in israel. but one of the great figures in israel and really paved the way for, we hope, peace in the future. >> all right. let's move on to iraq where 13 more people were killed today in a couple of car bombings in the heart of baghdad. islamic extremists believed to be behind those. senator inhoff, on thursday you
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tweeted, quote, the issues in iraq are threatening to undo all that our men and women in uniform have fought for as al qaeda is resurgent, taking over fallujah and ramadi again. who's to blame here, senator inhoff? >> well, i'm not going to say who's to blame now. i'd rather look at how can we correct it? we tried very hard back when president obama pulled out to get him to leave such things as surveillance, intelligence, logistics, training. that's the type of thing that we can do. we've trained them already over that period of time. in oklahoma in my 45th, we're very much involved in that. so they're great warriors, but you can't just leave them and not have the intelligence and the logistics there with them. so that's what we're encouraging them to do now. if you look at anbar province,
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of the 4,486 mends and women who have died, americans, a third of them were in anbar province. and that looks like it has been taken over. it's one that we can reverse that with a little bit of the type of help that i'm suggesting. >> senator cardin, there's a lot of i told you so going on here. senator mccain is really leading that charge. is that justified? and what about the 2004 battle for anbar province? all those marines who fought so bravely and so many of whom lost their lives. was that all for not? >> well, first of all, the iraqis have to take responsibility for defending their own country. and the iraqi government must respect the different ethnic communities within iraq. and a good deal of the problems today is internal security and is a government that does not respect and try to bring together all the people of iraq. yes, there are extremists and there are terrorists and we need to work together to root that out. but i think the fundamental problem is whether the iraqis will take responsibility for their own country. >> senator inhoff, the white house says it's going to send hell fire missiles and other
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munitions to the iraqi government. they haven't decided yet whether or not they're going to go after these militants in fa lucia and ramadi. but outside of supplying them with arms, is there anything else the united states can do? the white house has ruled out sending u.s. forces back. >> oh, yeah, john. as i mentioned, the intelligence and the logistics. those are the things they need to have to back them up. now, i'm glad that the president is now reversing a previous decision and is willing to sell them -- they have money. they can buy some of our equipment. some of our arms. f-16s, for example. but that i have got to be trained to fly them. so training is a very important part. look, i was over in fallujah during the time -- remember the fingerprints and all of that? these people are risking their lives for their freedom. i think that, you know, i think that they're going to be pulling out. they do need our help. we don't want boots on the ground. i know ben doesn't either. we do want to share our
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intelligence, logistics and training with them. >> let me move on to a couple other topics we want to discuss today. benghazi coming up and the new robert gates book called "duty." senator cardin, he paints a fairly unflattering portrait of the white house and president obama's respect or lack of it for the military. his suspicion of military leaders and saying that when it came to certain elements of the war in afghanistan the president just seemed to disown it and get out. to you, are the former secretary of defense's observations credible? >> well, john, first of all, secretary gates is well respected for the service to his country, particularly as secretary of defense. it's very interesting in his book, he gives high praise to president obama, making decisive decisions. and just about every decision he made, secretary gates agreed with. so the bottom line was that there was more harmony than you would think the headlines on the critique of his book. the one area where he talked about the frank discussion that took place in the white house, that's president obama. i think that's good that he welcomes diverse opinions.
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but i think it's unfortunate we now see it in the book, it looks like in an effort to make the book more popular on the newsstands. >> senator inhoff, you said late last week you were not a fan of robert gates but you're becoming one now. >> that's right. first of all, to me the most revealing thing was the exchange that hillary clinton and obama had when they each one admitted to the other one that during the surge in iraq, both of them had their decisions made through a political -- for political motivation. i think that was really revealing. to me, that draws a distinction. because, you know, bob gates was also in that position under a republican. >> do you think, senator, that su hurts her chances if she decides to seek the presidency in 2016? >> yeah, i do. i do. i think for her to say that she -- of course, she may deny it. i haven't heard any response from her. the fact i haven't heard anything from her leads me to
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believe she probably won't. but to be politically motivated to make those very significant decisions i think is going to be very damaging to her. >> senator cardin, do you agree? >> no. this is the type of talk -- after the fact president obama was opposed to us entering the war in iraq as i was opposed to it. secretary clinton as a senator voted for that. i think they were talking about the primary elections where issues get talked about but i don't think anyone questions the sincerity of secretary clinton. in fact, secretary gates was extremely complimentary of the role that secretary clinton played as secretary of state. >> senator en. >> dan: inhoff -- >> ben is right. that was during the primary and the primary at that time looked like it was going to be between obama and hillary. and both of them agreed they made that as political
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decisions. i think it's going to come back and hurt her. >> senator inhoff, bob gates also said that vice president joe biden has been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the last four decades. you served with him in the u.s. senate as a colleague for a number of years. do you think that bob gates is correct on that point? >> well, you know, he's a real gracious person. i had a long conversation with the vice president the other day when i had a loss in my family. we talked for over an hour. now, i have debated him in years past on foreign -- on issues where i have disagreed with him. and so i don't say -- i can't say that he's been wrong on everything. but i've disagreed with him on most things. >> right. and senator cardin, it's certainly not unusual, not unprecedented for former administration officials, former administration official to write scathing tell-all books while the administration still holds office. but in this case bob gates, did you argue at all with the timing of the release of this book?
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>> well, i do. i think there is some question here. i think candid discussions with the president are important. i think reading about it in a book can only harm those types of discussions in the future. in regards to vice president biden, i served with vice president biden. i still do. he's still the president of the senate. so he is -- his views are widely respected in the united states senate and among the people in washington. i think about new start and the ability of getting that agreement with russia, we would not have gotten it but with the hard work of vice president biden. so he's been a trusted adviser and person i think is very solid on the issues. >> in the couple minutes we have left i would like to turn to benghazi. of course, the state department designated ansar al shahry and some people have been listed as terrorist organizations and the mastermind behind the attack in the consulate there in benghazi. senator inhoff, you took particular issue with "the new york times" article which said that there was no al qaeda
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connection between the attack on the consulate and al qaeda. what do you say about that? >> well, it was clearly the attack particularly in the annex was clearly an organized terrorist attack. there's no question about that. in fact, obama's own cia director john brennan used the word "unequivocal." it's unequivocal it was a terrorist attack. the same thing with the national intelligence director james clapper. these are both appointees and answer to the president. they said it was a terrorist attack and so did secretary of defense leon panetta. so i think the top three advisors on military and foreign you know that the president knew that right after the annex took place. and, yet, he sent susan rice to the sunday shows including the one we're on right now to tell the american people something that just wasn't true to try to
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keep this issue of the problems of organized terrorist activity subverted. >> senator cardin, is there any question in your mind that there was an al qaeda connection to one of the attacks in benghazi, if not the consulate than at least the annex at senator inhoff is suggesting? >> you know, my focus is to use what happened in benghazi to make sure that we keep our personnel and our embassies as safe as we possibly can. >> understood. but do you believe there was an al qaeda connection there with the attack? >> you know, there's been a lot of studies that have been done. i think there was a multiple factors. it wasn't just one episode that took place in benghazi. it was different places. i think it's more complicated than just one connection. >> but do you believe that there was some al qaeda involvement? >> i know that there was extremist involvement. who they were associated with, is a matter that i'm not quite clear on. >> all right. senator ben cardin, senator inhoff -- >> john? >> yes. >> they were very specific about al shari being there and he is a
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well-known organizer of terrorist activity. >> sure. we have to go, gentlemen. thanks so much for joining us. >> i think that's going to go down as -- thank you. >> all right. thank you. the talk of the town in washington this week certainly are the revelations in former defense secretary robert gates' new memoir. a day after the public got a preview of his bashing of joe biden, we also got a photo op of the president and vice president at their weekly lunch. the white house granted the press rare access to the normally private affair. sunday panel returns for a look at the white house on defense next. be a victim of fraud.
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e he also wrote, as i noted
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earlier, about all the decisions that president obama made on afghanistan. i believe obama was right in each of these decisions. he also said, i believe the president cared deeply about the troops and their families. i never doubted obama's support for the troops. and i think that's a sentiment that we all recognize to be true. >> the white house press secretary jay carney doing his best to highlight the positive in the bomb shell tell-all book from former defense secretary robert gates. and we're back again with the panel. gates did say i never doubted obama's support for the troops, only his support for their mission. bob, you wrote a detailed lengthy argue about the book earlier this week. your thoughts? >> he really goes after obama in a very direct way. but there's the other side and he's trying to have it both ways. he says nice things about the president. the question really is did the president do a good job in developing his strategy for afghanistan? and i wrote a book on it and spent a couple years looking at the my -- minutia of it and the
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meetings and notes and documents. you can make a case that the president did a very good job. he said we're getting out. he shifted the strategy. bob gates who is very critical of the president at times signed up for all of that. and as jay carney said, he said, i agree with that. but it's a fascinating story because it's so emotional. gates says he was under stress. he hated the job. he gave a portrait of his life. which is very unusual. he said he would go home at night and write condolence letters, pour himself a stiff drink, have carry-out or a frozen dinner and then read something and go to bed and then get up at 5:00 a.m. and run around the lincoln memorial and say to abe lincoln, how could you do it? how could you take it? >> just writing the condolence
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letters has got to be extremely stressful. george, this is a defense secretary who on the outside was stoic, always very composed. the book paints a picture of a complete contrast of a man who was completely seething on the inside, could barely contain himself. >> a deeply reticent man such as mr. gates at last speaks. it's worth listening to. what's been getting all the attention in washington is the serrated edge of the book that he says about certain people still in office. but what struck me most is what bob talks about. it's a deeply humane book about the man who signs the deployment orders, that sends people over there. 3,800 of whom died on his watch and he felt it. now, he does criticize the president about not believing in the afghan policy. we're about to enter the sixth year of the obama presidency and the 13th year of the war there. who does believe in nation building? obama inherited -- crete mission
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gallop had already occurred. we've got from counterterrorism to counterinsurgency to nation building. the president didn't believe in it. he inherited the war. you got to war with the army you've got and fight the war you've inherited. >> one official that he did take direct aim at is vice president joe biden. he says in the book, "i think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." the white house's immediate response was to allow the press corps, karl, into the weekly private luncheon between the president and the vice president. and i covered president bush for nearly six years. i can't remember one time when we were invited in to take pictures of him and dick cheney saying, we're okay. >> one photograph will not sponge off the mistakes of 40 years. i think this was a simple statement of fact. even inside the obama administration, biden is depicted as being on the wrong side of virtually every major policy decision that president obama makes on foreign policy. i want to return to one point about if president obama did not
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believe in his own policy, the surge in afghanistan, you can see it by his decisions. his decisions to send the troops there on a slow schedule and bring them back literally in the middle of the fighting season in order to have an impact on the 2012 election. he wanted to be able to say i'm bringing our boys home even in the middle of the fighting season in 2012. what's interesting to me is that some gates' insiders have told me this book was essentially ready before the 2012 election. and gates made a deliberate decision to s publication until well after the election so as not to have these incendiary charges intrude into the election. i think that's a statement about his character. but it also says something about president obama that he -- once having made this courageous decision to send additional troops to afghanistan, did not follow through in a way that you would have anticipated. but instead used their presence in the country for political purpose by bringing them home prematurely. >> how do you think the
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president comes off? are there enough contradictions in this book that he comes out pretty well? >> i put up political pram work on it. i don't think that anybody is a supporter of president obama. in fact, i don't even think republicans given that most republicans think it's not worth us being there are going to say gee, this president is really a bad guy because he had doubts about this strategy. the argument is if you have any doubts, why you would send men and women to die? that is the point of criticism. i think that all commanders in chief have to make difficult calls here. i think that the critics maybe step a little bit too far in asking us to believe that, oh, no, you can't do -- can't make a decision unless you believe you're going to have immediate success. >> but just a correction on a point. it was president obama, karl, who said we're going to axel brat the deployment of the surge. and the record clearly shows that he did that and his plan to say we're going to begin the drawdown in about 18 months was
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okayed by everyone, including bob gates very enthusiastically. now, what gates is doing here is reading between the lines about, you know, body language and the kind of inner obama. and the inner obama doesn't like war. >> well, the inner obama went out. when the military said we need this many troops to do the mission, he gave them considerably less. again, i repeat -- >> at bob gates's recommendation. that was gates's number. >> and, again, i repeat. he pulled people out in the middle of the fighting season. physic if he really didn't believe in policies, if he didn't think it was important to inflict maximum damage on the taliban and extremist elements and then why did we even have the surge to begin with? >> george, 30 seconds left. where do you think the biggest impact of this book will fall? >> i think it will fall on the general assessment of the obama presidency. and particularly the statement of hillary clinton and barack obama saying that they opposed
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the iraq war surge for purely political reasons. >> we've got a take a break here. when we come back, more on the legacy of former israeli prime minister ariel sharon. stay with us.
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. a live look now outside the knesset as the body of ariel sharon who passed away at the age of 85 lies in state. the body will travel later today to his ranch in southern israel. we're back now with a little bonus time with our panel. and gentlemen, in the remaining time that we have, i would like to get your thoughts on ariel sharon. your thoughts? >> 1999, i guess, when george w.
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bush was running for president, he visited ariel sharon and he took him up in a helicopter. where before the '67 war, israel was about nine miles wide. george bush came home and said we have driveways longer than that in texas. sharon had made his point. which was that israel was not defensible in the '67 borders. that said, it is possible that he would have wanted a somewhat bigger but more compact israel. the idea that he would preside over the disengagement from gaza does not mean he would have preside over the comprehensive settlements. bigger israel but more com pact. >> a number of years at the white house dealing with sharon. i know that president bush in appreciation, had tough words for him on occasion. >> yes burk they were close friends and close friends can speak. i think both were fervent have had a cass in the existence of the state of israel. and bush appreciated that sharon had a strategy and the strategy
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was, where possible, disengage the jewish state from the palestinian people, to create a defensible, stable, secure israel that could live in peace with its neighbors. he depended upon the united states to play the role that it did under bush. which was to say arafat was not a partner with whom progress could be made. and that the palestinians had to foreswear terrorism and violence and actually accept the existence of israel. he was a remarkable human being. >> i think he was a kind of de galle kind of individual in israel. somebody who defined certain periods. made some mistakes. what i found interesting during reagan years, when he was defense minister in israel, he would come to the united states. meet with bill casey, the cia director, and he persuaded casey
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and president reagan to sign a top secret finding to give $10 million to war lords in lebanon that he wanted to deal with. so his influence wasn't just in israel. it was in this country. >> and some people are making the point when israel buries ariel sharon, it may be burying the last strong leader who could actually forge peace between israel and the palestinians. >> this is an interesting point. what's required for that perception was that he was so strong in israel was that no one would doubt his love of israel and his capacity to say to critics, this is the best deal that i can get and this is what's necessary to keep us safe and vital. the contrary perception is that this is a guy who said i don't think it's worth my time to negotiate with the palestinians at a time when people around the world were for some settlement, some sort of peace. they saw some of that when he was saying i'm going on give some of gaza back. i'm willing to talk. he antagonized people in the
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israeli settlements who felt they had betrayed him. the question why why would not he openly engage with the palestinians? i think that's why you've seen such reluctance from world leaders even now. this is not going to be nelson mandela's funeral. >> he did engage with the palestinians starting with the aqba meeting in 2003. this is last man who will lead israel who fought in the 1948 war. and in israel, this is a seismic moment. there is a generational passing much like we had when the greatest generation left the leadership of our country and was succeeded by the babyboomers. so will israel face a new future with a new generation. >> great to see you all. thanks for being with us. that's it for today. i hope you have a great week. we'll see you again.
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this week, editorial report. 50 years after lyndon johnson declared war on poverty, president obama says poverty is still winning. and he is pushing forward with more government solutions. is there a better way? some prominent conservatives are weighing in. plus, former defense secretary robert gates making some waves with his new memoir. what it tells us about the president and his foreign policy. and new jersey governor chris christie at the center of a political scandal. are his 2016 presidential ambitions at risk? welcome to the journal

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